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Sudeley Castle

Visited April 2011

Location Winchcombe, Gloucestershire
Entrance Fee Yes( Check website for current prices)
Railway Station         No
Parking Yes
Facilities Toilets, Play Area, Cafe, Picnics, Gardens


As you can see from this picture, Sudeley is a handsome-looking castle with beautiful landscaped gardens and lots of space for running around and letting off steam. It is also steeped in history- especially of interest to fans of the Tudor era as Henry VIII visited with Anne Boleyn, and the castle was also once owned by Henry's sixth wife Katherine Parr, whose tomb can be found in the chapel.






One of the big attractions for visiting children is the adventure playground. Built in the style of a massive wooden castle, it is exciting and absorbing for all age groups. We spent about an hour in the playground, and also made use of the picnic benches there to eat our packed lunches. The playground is sited a short distance from the castle & gardens, so the children can make a noise there without disturbing the other visitors.





Once we persuaded the children that there was more to see, we went exploring around the grounds. The gardens are truly magnificent, with box hedges teased into knot gardens, huge yew tree tunnels, and an abundance of rose bushes and bulbs. The ruins of the banqueting hall form a marvellous backdrop to the formal 'Queens Garden', which has been re-planted on the site of the original garden which would have been walked in by the Tudor Queens.


Having raved enthusiastically about the castle gardens, it is a shame that the actual castle buildings are a bit of a disappointment to the visitor. There is access to just one small part of the interior, which is the former kitchen & stable block. This houses an exhibition about the Tudors, and has wax figures of Henry VIII and his six wives, and information on each of them. It is interesting and well presented, but does not take more than about twenty minutes to look round. On the way out of the main exhibition area there is a display about 'Brock' the badger, who was a childhood pet of the castles present owners. I must admit I found this rather a strange subject for an exhibition  in a castle, but perhaps that is just me! The rest of the castle is out- of-bounds to the public , except for special 'Connoisseur Tours' which are only for adults & over 12's, so not really within the remit  of this website! I personally think it is a shame that so little of the interior is open to the public, especially as the entrance fee is quite high.





Apart from the Exhibitions and award-winning gardens, there is a small chapel housing the tomb of Katherine Parr, which is worth a visit. Poor Katherine was moved around a bit before being finally interred at Sudeley, her one-time home.


From the chapel you can take a walk into the pheasantry- home to all manner of birds. The star of the show was a peacock (we named him Ashley) who was putting on a lovely display of his plumage. Sadly, the peahens were not interested at all, and after a while we wanted to move on, but found it hard to leave poor Ashley on his own with no one to appreciate his feathers. We eventually managed to slip away and strolled past the gatehouse to the Tythe barn- now in ruins but planted up with more lovely gardens. There is a carp pond on one side which is an ideal spot to sit and view the castle across the field.


All in all this was a good day out with lots to see, even if it is mainly the exterior- which is admittedly very beautifully maintained . Our children loved the play area (of course) and the Tudor exhibition, and we all enjoyed the walks around the grounds. There is a decent cafe with indoor & outdoor seating, and a gift/plant shop at the entrance/exit.





More info:  Sudeley Castle

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